Highlights 3 Helping to Educate Children in Disadvantaged Communities
Primary education is critical to breaking the chain of poverty and boosting community development. In the Asia-Pacific region, there are still many children with limited access to education due to economic circumstances. Fuji Xerox has launched a new social initiative in the Philippines to help educate children with limited access and to give back to areas where it does business. In collaboration with Gakken Holdings Co., Ltd. and Gawad KalingaNote 1, Fuji Xerox is providing learning materials to children preparing to start school. With corporations, NGOs, and communities joining hands to maximize their impact, this initiative will help nurture the talents of children who represent the future of their nation. This report discusses how Fuji Xerox is partnering with NGOs and other companies to help meet community educational needs in a new way.
|Number of children to whom Fuji Xerox plans to distribute learning materials in this project||100,000 over 10 years in the Asia-Pacific region|
|30,000 over 10 years in the Philippines|
|Population of the Philippines||96,707,000Note 2|
|People in the Philippines living on less than US$2 a day||41.5% of populationNote 3|
|Net primary school enrolment in the Philippines||89% (average for male and female)Note 2|
|Proportion of enrollees who reach the last primary grade||76%Note 2|
|People in the Philippines receiving support from Gawad KalingaNote 1||2,000 communities, 60,000 families|
- Note 1 Gawad Kalinga (meaning to "give care") is a Filipino NGO that aims to end poverty by restoring the dignity of the poor. It has successfully transformed over 2,000 slums into peaceful and productive communities through projects including housebuilding. Fuji Xerox Philippines, Inc. is a partner in these projects and in 2007 built the Fuji Xerox Gawad Kalinga Village in Taguig City on the outskirts of Manila.
Article in Previous Sustainability Reports : "Helping to Build Society Through a Mutual Benefit Approach" (2009)
- Note 2 UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund), "The State of the World's Children 2014 in Numbers"
- Note 3 World Bank, "World Development Indicators" (updated July 2014; survey year 2009)
Primary Education in Emerging Nations
Achieving universal primary education is one of the UN Millennium Development Goals. Large numbers of the world's children presently have limited access to primary education due to poverty or other social conditions. This lack of access perpetuates the chain of poverty and hinders community development. According to the UNICEF report The State of the World's Children , the rate of completion of primary education ("survival rate to last primary grade") in many of the countries where Fuji Xerox does business, such as Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Myanmar, is as low as 75 to 90 percent—a long way from universality.
As a company operating in these regions, Fuji Xerox is committed to closing the education gap. By helping resolve this issue through the leveraging of its technology and the spirit of its people, the company can nurture children's potential and contribute to the advancement of the global community, key components of the company's mission statement.
Project Launched in the Philippines
In 2014, Fuji Xerox inaugurated a project designed to help resolve educational disparity among children in the Philippines. To improve lives in disadvantaged communities, the company is providing learning materials to children with limited access to education.
The Towerville district of Bulacan Province lies about two hours' drive from Manila. In this district, there are currently 34 villages built in a cooperative effort by the government and Gawad Kalinga. The villages were created to facilitate the relocation of informal settlers living in urban Manila, and these communities continue to expand.
In June, Fuji Xerox provided workbooks to 450 of Towerville's children around the age of five to help them learn English through self-study. The company held a presentation ceremony and workshop for village leaders, children, and the project volunteers. A total of over 250 people attended the ceremony, including 120 children from nearby villages, their parents, and other people involved with the project. As the adults looked on, the children performed songs and dances, and some were so curious they opened their workbooks and became engrossed in them immediately.
Joining Hands with Others Committed to Education for Future Generations
Over the years, Fuji Xerox has addressed the needs of the next generation and education through a wide array of social contribution programs. In 2013, the company formally designated "education for future generations" as one of its social contribution focuses and launched this project in an effort to harness the strengths of its core business in order to help resolve social issues.
In supplying learning materials, however, there are limits to what Fuji Xerox can do alone, in terms of both content and quantity. In this project, the company aims to build a long-term structure to provide materials to more children in need by partnering with other companies and groups that share its commitment to educating future generations, and by doing so in precisely those areas in which each has special expertise. Local NGOs identify needs and target groups. Content partners provide learning materials. Financial sponsors cover printing and other costs. By having each organization focus on what it does best, Fuji Xerox aims both to offer improved materials and to expand the project. In 10 years, Fuji Xerox hopes to provide learning materials to 100,000 children in the Asia-Pacific region.
To produce the workbook distributed in June, Fuji Xerox coordinated the efforts of various participants: Gakken Holdings provided English language content for self-study. Gawad Kalinga checked that the workbook was suited to local needs and selected the recipient district and beneficiary children. A Philippine partner company equipped with Fuji Xerox production printers outputted the workbooks.
Fumio Yoshioka, manager of the CSR Promotion Office of Gakken Holdings, which provided the content of the workbook, says, "Using the unique strengths of our company to contribute to society really made sense to us. Through our involvement in providing the content, which is our core business, we can enhance the quality of these workbooks for Asian children. We are very pleased to have this opportunity."
Iwao Abe, then president of Fuji Xerox Philippines, threw his weight behind expanding the project. A number of firms expressed interest in serving as sponsors when he announced the initiative at DocuWorld expo of Fuji Xerox Philippines and asked clients for their cooperation, explaining "This project takes our commitment to the community and links it to benefiting Filipino children who don't yet have full access to education." Beng Collantes, a member of the project team, is inspired by the unexpectedly strong response: "I'm very aware of my responsibility to turn this support into tangible results that we can deliver to the children. I want more of our employees and our customers to get involved in expanding these efforts." Through this, customers are no longer simply users of Fuji Xerox products; they are partners of a shared cause who are contributing with Fuji Xerox to community development.
The Significance of a Sustained Effort
The project does not end with just one round of distributing workbooks. Fuji Xerox aims to bring about social change by providing continuing support.
Marisa Apatan, Gawad Kalinga Towerville education leader, comments, "There are many children who start school but end up dropping out. There aren't enough textbooks for each child to have one, and there are also very few teachers. The kids can't follow what's going on in class and get bored and in the end stop going. If children can get into the habit of studying and experience the fun of learning before they start attending school, the chances of them dropping out will be much lower. I believe that these things will open up the way forward." Lydia Tejerero, a volunteer teacher in the district's toddler education program, adds with a smile, "Fuji Xerox has said that they'll be back with the next workbook. We're delighted to have continuing support."
Efforts to ensure that the workbooks are used effectively are essential if the support is to be ongoing and reach more children. Before the presentation ceremony, Fuji Xerox and Gawad Kalinga held a workshop for village leaders and discussed how to do this. Marisa and Lydia made a proposal: "Many children are not used to studying on their own and their families aren't used to encouraging this. We intend to provide places where the children can gather once a week to study with their workbooks. We want them to get into it together and have fun. We'll talk to the other volunteers and make sure that we can provide this support for all 450 children in the project."
Matt Vergara of Gawad Kalinga staff says, "The commitment of the volunteer teachers, and the partner companies will help the children develop solid study habits which will allow them to excel in school. The fact that the partners are providing support on a continuing basis is very, very encouraging both to the children and to the community."
A total of 22 Fuji Xerox Philippines employees took part in the workshop and presentation ceremony as volunteers, helping to set up the venue, staff the reception desk, and show the children what to do. "As an employee, I am proud that the company is taking the lead in initiatives like this. I intend to stay involved in the future," declares Leo Aquino, who also took part in the housing construction project in 2007. Lolot Domingo told us, "I brought my daughter, and she has already said,‘When's the next one? I want to come again.'" Fuji Xerox Philippines Vice President John Dulay, who directed the staff volunteers, watched with pleasure as they worked hard despite the hot sun. Says Dulay, "The Philippines face the many contradictions that come with a gap between rich and poor. I am convinced, though, that when companies encourage volunteer activities and create opportunities for social engagement, employees have a shared purpose. The strong sense of solidarity which that generates becomes the engine that keeps the project going."
Fuji Xerox aims to roll out the program by stages from fiscal 2015 onward, extending similar schemes to other Asia-Pacific countries. Masashi Honda, senior vice president responsible for Asia-Pacific business operations, says, "I have been stationed overseas for 17 years in a variety of Asian countries, and I have seen a real wealth gap in many of them. Our employees also feel the pain of the societies where we do business, and we want to address these contradictions and contribute in any way we can in our company's fields of expertise. It gives me great pleasure to see employees actively engage in efforts of this kind, forming a bridge to the community and at the same time developing rich character and dynamism. And it would be wonderful if the children we support in our project grow up wanting to make their own contribution to Philippine society. Imagine if that extends to other Asian countries in a positive circle. We plan to invite people who share these ideals to get involved. By doing so, we'll be able to establish a structure that can provide continuing support to children. I'll do whatever it takes to achieve that."
Fuji Xerox, an industry leader in document services and communications, seeks to have a positive social impact by partnering with local communities and its customers. Fuji Xerox is entering a new era of social contribution.
Founder of Gawad Kalinga
For people born at the base of the pyramid to become independent, they need to regain their honor and dignity as human beings. Gawad Kalinga's community construction for residents of disadvantaged areas is in full swing and it is steadily expanding. My next big goal is for people from impoverished backgrounds to be able to create stable employment opportunities for others. Education is the foundation of everything, and the continued cooperation offered by Fuji Xerox is very meaningful in terms of providing the small children who are our future with opportunities to achieve their dreams.
The median age in the Philippines is 23. As the country literally grows, we hope to see more companies invest in the next generation so that each member of society can have honor and dignity. There will definitely be an immeasurable return on that investment.